Sat10252014

News

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

A flyer is being distributed across Los Altos that looks like it is from the Los Altos Town Crier but was neither created nor distributed by the community’s weekly newspaper. The flyer, pictured at right, is being distributed by workers from Pyrami...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Natives soak up watered gardens

Photo Arvind Kumar/Special To The Town Crier Hummingbirds enjoy the magenta flowers of hummingbird sage, which releases an enjoyable fragrance when touched.

 

California native plants can thrive poolside or pondside, next to a vegetable garden, in range of lawn sprinklers, in a rain garden, covering the ground near fruit trees, in a flower border that gets regular water or under a birdbath.

The best choices are plants that come from riparian, or streamside, areas, though some common natives tolerate a surprisingly large range of conditions. For a small garden, use barriers or containers to keep some of these plants in check.

With regular water, certain otherwise well-behaved natives expand their territory. If you already grow these plants in drought-tolerant conditions, don’t start watering them unless you want to propagate them.

Yarrow, for instance, takes full to part sun, tolerates drought, yet also does well – and spreads faster – where it gets regular water. Its creeping stems create a good ground cover, kept low if you snip the flowering stems.

I leave the flowers to attract beneficial insects to my vegetable garden, where yarrow mingles with low-growing light-pink- or purple-flowered seaside daisy and fragrant-leaved yerba buena in different areas alongside vegetables and berries.

Hummingbird sage is similarly adaptable. One of my plants has filled a large pot and cascades over the edges. Another one has gradually filled a garden bed. I enjoy the fragrance of the leaves, released when I touch them, and the hummingbirds enjoy the magenta flowers. As a bonus, if the plant spreads where you don’t want it, you can harvest its leaves and dry them for a delicious tea.

For the back of an informal border or the edge of a natural pond, add bursts of yellow in late summer to fall with western goldenrod. It will bloom more with more sun, and it needs to be contained if it gets regular water in a small garden. Goldenrod makes a good border for an edible garden because it attracts beneficial insects.

Brighten a shady or part-sun corner that gets some moisture with the red flowers of western columbine. Hummingbirds will find them! Left to go to seed, goldfinches will feed on them. Scarlet or red monkeyflower and yellow-eyed grass also add spots of vibrant color to moist areas.

On a larger scale, willows are the archetypal streamside vegetation. For a boggy or poorly draining spot, try a small willow, such as the shrubby Del Norte willow. Western spicebush, red-twig and brown-twig dogwood, fragrant thicket-forming native roses, western mock orange and fragrant western azalea also thrive with some water and provide food, forage and shelter for insects and wildlife. Golden currant is particularly picturesque with its flower-packed branches arching over a streambank.

For a pond itself, stream orchid is easy and needs consistent moisture to bloom. Its flowers have muted hues of yellow, brown and purple. Keep it in a pot to control spreading and so that you can move it when it goes dormant from fall to early winter.

Often used in modern landscapes for its architectural form, horsetail can grow in standing water but can colonize drier areas of the garden as well. I grow horsetail in a container, and I still need to weed around it periodically to keep it from spreading.

 

Tanya Kucak gardens organically. E-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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